Fringe director Ben Lewis' newest work, The Sessions has sparked a buzz among film crowds. Not only does it feature some of the top names in Hollywood - Helen Hunt and John Hawkes - but the premise is more than enough to spark moviegoers' interest. The film centers around the relationship between writer and polio survivor Mark O'Brien (John Hawkes) and his sex therapist, played by Helen Hunt. As the storyline unfolds, the relationship between therapist and patient develops into more than a strictly professional affair.
The film is based on a real-life story and deals with some heavy subjects like long-term illness, relationships and intimacy. Somewhat surprisingly, though, The Sessions is marketed as a comedy and Lewis himself says that he aimed to bring humour to something that could have turned into a very depressing story.
"There are always those early moments where the audience kind of gets the cue, "OK you have permission to laugh," Lewis has said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. His own experience with polio and paralysis is bound to bring some realism to the plot, as well as hopefully a few laughs in the right places. Whether or not he succeeded still remains to be seen, but the film has been generating early Oscar buzz. This seems like a very different process from Lewis' previous works, not least of all in terms of the marketing, which has been much heavier for The Sessions, than any of the director's other films. It looks like this may well be the flick which turns Lewis from a fringe filmmaker into a mainstream success.